Nishikant pitches for ILP app, steps to attract tourists


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By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Mar 2: Keishamthong AC MLA Nishikant Singh Sapam has asserted that an Inner Line Permit (ILP) app should be incorporated in the Tourism Department’s website and licences should be given to hotels for opening liquor bars in order to attract tourists to the State.
The Independent MLA made this observation while discussing a demand for grant pertaining to Tourism in the State Assembly today.
Nishikant said that very few people built beautiful buildings/houses in Manipur till the early 1990s and there were very few vehicles. People could easily identify any non-Government vehicle moving on the road.
The law and order situation was so bad that no non-local officers wanted to get posted in Manipur. Even Manipuri officers preferred posting outside the State, he said.
But today, the number of vehicles seen on the roads of Manipur is so large and traffic jams have become quite common on the roads of Imphal, Nishikant said.  
At that time very few tourists came to the State. Of all the non-local people who came to the State for different purposes, very few of them visited Loktak and some other places and went back the next day, he said.
Now many tourism sites have been developed in the State. Recently, a Polo statue was inaugurated atop Marjing hill under the initiative of the Chief Minister. There is an Olympian Park at Sangaithel and also Ethnic Park at Moirang Khunou, he noted.
For Manipur, tourism is one sector which can generate the highest income. If tourism can thrive as an industry, all the people of Manipur would be benefited directly or indirectly. All sections of people including taxi drivers, hoteliers and farmers would be benefited once Manipur becomes a popular tourism destination, he asserted.
Of late, Manipur has been witnessing substantial rise in the number of tourists visiting the State. Lakhs visited Manipur during the recent Manipur Sangai Festival.
Going by the number of tourists who visited Manipur during the Sangai Festival, it is estimated that around 15 to 20 lakh tourists might visit the State in a year.
If these 15/20 lakh tourists buy just memento each, it would turn out to be a big boost to the State memento producers, he said.
Observing that there are now many tourist spots in the State,  Nishikant said that people need to be friendly and hospitable toward all tourists.
Local people of well known tourism destinations like Goa, Sikkim and Indonesia’s Bali are very friendly to tourists.
“Manipuri people are also friendly to tourists but we need to treat them with the spirit of Guest is God”, he said.
He also highlighted the importance of making all ILP related matters accessible through websites and other digital platforms. The ILP app should be incorporated in the Manipur Tourism’s website.
All tour operators, both based in Manipur and outside, should be given all the details of ILP in advance. Only payment of ILP fees should be introduced.
The app should be designed in such a way that the Government can easily know how long and where a tourist may stay in Manipur, he said.
Nishikant said that he adopted a second home of Sangai at Iroishemba Zoological Garden with a view to enable tourists take a look at the State animal which is also an endangered species even if tourists cannot see the animal at Keibul Lamjao National Park.
Just saying that Kangla is a historical place of Manipur is not enough. Guides who have thorough knowledge of the history of Manipur should be stationed at Kangla in order to give detailed information about Kangla to tourists, he continued.
Tourists should be made comfortable when they visit the State. Most tourists love to drink and dine when they visit some exotic places.
As such, there is a need to issue licences to hotels for opening liquor bars, specially for tourists. All efforts should be made to ensure that all tourists have fond and exciting memories of Manipur after they go back to their home countries/States, he said. Legalisation of liquor at hotels is already in the pipeline, he added.